Given the uncertainty of what the next six, 12, even 18 months of work might look like, you might consider refining and upgrading your current workflow infrastructure a ‘fool’s errand.’ But as the world continues to adapt to a new normal, it’s imperative that businesses also adjust operations to accommodate the changing dynamics of what the future of work looks like – not just for external partnerships and customers, but for their internal teams, too. 

And regardless of climate, it’s safe to say that all aspects of business operations should be data-driven and process-oriented. And yet, at many companies, recruiting feels so far behind. Companies that get it right are attracting and landing top talent. Organizations that struggle to move their recruiting (and people management) teams forward are losing out.  

Our CEO wrote about the importance of talent management in the C-suite, but the team the CTO (Chief Talent Officer) builds under them is equally important (in fact, without this team you can’t drive your strategy forward).

And so, while it might feel like we should wait to move our companies forward, now is the time to look inward and begin to rethink, reassess what we’re doing well, and what needs a facelift. Now is the time to ensure we have a strong foundational infrastructure in place. 

Looking to improve, or perhaps implement, your recruiting ops? Here’s what you need to know… 

First things first: Why Recruiting Ops?

Finding and landing top candidates isn’t an easy task, and the companies that have an organized, data-forward internal team will inevitably secure better talent. 

Streamlined Processes will help to make sure that you’ve taken every aspect of the interview timeline into consideration and leave little room for unnecessary hiccups. In the long run, this will help your team do their jobs more effectively and maximize output. 

A clean and straightforward process will also help you attract and recruit higher-quality talent. Today’s top candidates will not waste their time with companies that have messy or ambiguous internal processes, as this is a direct reflection of how your company operates in other areas of the business. Impeccable candidate experience is critical to your success. 

The nitty-gritty of recruiting ops: 

Building out and streamlining processes 

Think of your collection of tools as a recruiting stack – a cohort of SASS and engineered products that work together to keep your team moving forward. 

As you decide on and implement your stack, make sure your system is not simply a file cabinet of sorts for resumes and candidate contact information. For instance, you’ll want a comprehensive ATS (applicant tracking system) that has a variety of integration capabilities. You’ll want to track the candidate throughout their interview, offer, and potential onboarding journey. But keep in mind that the process has multiple players – you’ll also want to track all internal actions taken on a candidate and any feedback or decisions that are made about hiring.

What else should you consider when building out your stack? 

  • Do you need scheduling software (and any integration capabilities?)
  • How are you handling background checks?
  • Do you need to track and manage candidate travel logistics, including payments and reimbursement? 
  • What, if any, internal assessments are part of your company’s interview process? 

When thinking about your internal workflow, including project assignment and management, make sure to consider all aspects of the hiring (and onboarding) process.

Here’s an example journey that you might use to inform your build-out: 

  • How are you obtaining applicants? 
    • Sourcing 
    • Marketing 
    • Inbound 
    • Campus 
    • Referrals
  • How are you managing these applicants?
    • Does your ATS have a scheduling module, or will your team manually handle interview scheduling? 
    • Who is responsible for owning the relationship with the candidate throughout the process? I.e. who will be their main contact for communications, responsible for keeping them warm and keeping them informed?
  • Interview processes?
    • What are the key capabilities and skills that are going to be evaluated and how are you going to assess them? What steps are involved and who will the candidate need to speak to? Where is the interview feedback captured and how it is shared throughout the process? 
  • Decision making?
    • Who is involved in this process? How do you make a decision? Is it a blind vote, by consensus, do certain people have veto power, or is left to each hiring manager on their own?
  • Offer Stage?
    • How will the candidate receive notice of their offer? 
    • Where does the offer live (with legal, HR, etc.)? 
    • Who is permitted to handle offer negotiations?
  • Onboarding stage? 
    • Who is responsible for onboarding a new candidate? 
    • What is company onboarding that falls on the people team and what falls into team-specific onboarding? 
    • How will your onboarding be adapted in a remote-friendly climate to ensure candidates are not just set up for tactical success, but to ensure they are onboarded into your company’s culture, developing a keen understanding of company values.

In-house vs Outsourced: Understanding your team’s capacity and capabilities

Depending on the size of your company, you may or may not require leverage from outside vendors for particular aspects of your recruiting workflow. Take the time to map out tasks that can be handled internally, as well as what can (or should) be outsourced to an appropriate vendor.

You might need to turn to a third-party vendor for sourcing candidates, an ATS or certain software or integration components of your stack, data management, or even higher-level strategizing like organizational charts and management pipelines. 

As you create your plan of action, don’t be afraid to test and experiment internally and see what works for your team. An experiment might fail, but then you better understand your bandwidth and capacity and can make a more informed decision about what to outsource and what to build out at home. 

Make room in the budget 

The budget that you have to work with is dependent on the size of your company and the impact that the COVID economy is having on your business. But even if you work with a small team or if your budget is tighter than before, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make the ask for critical resources to build out a comprehensive recruiting ops arm. 

You don’t need to invest in the best-of-the-best to build a formidable infrastructure. Use what you have at your immediate disposal, and then discuss with your executive team the resources that you do need a budget for – and be ready to showcase how these resources will help the company invest in better, more invested talent. 

Empower your team with data

This might seem like a no-brainer: A transparent and efficient workflow will help you better understand if and how well your current systems are working against your primary (and secondary) departmental and company goals. 

Building out an end-to-end data analysis system will help all relevant parties better understand a wide array of pertinent data points, such as: how and why people are attracted to your company, where and when candidates are submitting applications, the efficiency and success rate of your proactive recruiting tactics, candidate interview experience NPS, how fast and efficiently you are closing talent, the competitiveness of your offers, and how candidates decide to accept or reject your offers. 

Building out a well-oiled recruiting ops machine will take a great deal of time and effort, but it’s a critical step to landing better candidates that are invested in your company. A strong operational workflow will help you do so consistently. At the end of the day, your team’s goal is to close top talent and to do it faster than your competitor. So why wait for an elusive “perfect time” to rework your ops game?